AT panto time, an audience that's sitting quietly is not, generally speaking, a good sign. At the Byre there was a total hush for most of the first half - not even a crisp packet or a sweetie wrapper rustled - because the rows of wee children were absolutely caught up in the story of Katie Morag, her island life on Struay and the disruptive advent of her scathing, dismissive and totally, like, urban-cool American cousins Princess and Dude.
Mind you, any invitations to join in or sing along were greeted enthusiastically. Well, could you resist the yompingly jolly Pirate's Song that sees the now-chummy trio heading off on the trail of hidden treasure?
The team behind this Mull Theatre production, staged in association with the Byre, have done some seasonal tweaking to the version that toured so successfully in 2005. It's now Christmas on Struay and a totally new cast are wholeheartedly bringing Mairi Hedderwick's much-loved stories to life. Sally Reid steps into Katie Morag's wellies with infectiously girlish gusto, while Pamela Byrne's Princess and Allan Gilmour's Dude find real comedy in the city-slick mannerisms and disdain of the LA brats, but avoid the kind of glib caricature that would have Katie Morag disown them completely.
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In the end, Struay works its magic and Katie Morag has lots of new friends - as evinced by the now cheering audience.